Learning the ropes: CIWM’s Learner Membership


Adult learning

For those starting out in the waste and resources sector, CIWM’s Learner Membership is an excellent way to access the Institution’s training, networks and resources.

With the rapidly evolving resources and waste management landscape becoming ever more complex and diverse, developing the skills and expertise needed to meet the challenges of the future is essential as the sector looks to bridge the significant skills gap it’s facing.

The need to address the skills shortfall is particularly acute as the sector transitions to net zero, embedding sustainable circular economy principles, developing innovative solutions, and moving into new areas of business.

CIWM’s research Beyond waste: Essential skills for a greener tomorrow predicts that the sector will need more than double its current number of employees by 2040, with 74,000 new roles over the next seven years. Employers report immediate and future skills gaps, with many saying it’s difficult to find candidates with the necessary skills and experience to fill roles. 

Supporting those involved in sector-specific learning is, therefore, a vitally important element of the skills-development process. As part of its commitment to ensuring learners achieve their full potential, CIWM has recently introduced a new Learner Membership grade.

This membership has created a free pathway for these individuals to access an asset that, in my opinion, is invaluable.

This is offered free to all those undertaking CIWM (WAMITAB) qualifications in resource and waste management and cleaning, through CIWM (WAMITAB)-approved commercial centres. Launched on 1 June, the Learner Membership will apply to all qualifications from Level 1 through to Level 5 and is available for the two-year registration period of the learner’s qualification.

Ellie Galibardi, CIWM administration manager and lead on the Learner Membership project, explains that the Institution wanted to deliver broader support for those taking qualifications: 

“When CIWM and WAMITAB merged in 2021, we realised that the vast majority of our WAMITAB qualification learners were not members of CIWM – so while they were acquiring knowledge and skills during their qualifications, they were not benefiting from the regular updating that CIWM members enjoy, which could contribute to a widening skills gap over time. 

“This membership has created a free pathway for these individuals to access an asset that, in my opinion, is invaluable.”

Registering for Learner Membership opens up access to a range of content and support for members throughout the qualification process, Galibardi adds. “CIWM membership brings numerous benefits to individuals and additional resources to support them with their qualifications. 

“Members can benefit from enhanced career opportunities, as well as contributing to the development of standards and policies that shape the waste management industry. CIWM membership is a valuable investment, providing access to the latest industry advancements and opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals.”


Net zero

Under the scheme, key benefits for Learner Membership include access to:

  • Circular Online, for reliable industry news and in-depth features.
  • CIWM Knowledge Centre, a growing resource library that allows CIWM members to get up-to-date technical resources and information, including legislative and policy updates, guidance and best practice.
  • CIWM Mentoring platform, which can match learners with a more experienced member who has volunteered to provide advice, guidance and coaching – developing knowledge, expanding skill sets and building confidence.

“We are confident that offering this membership free of charge while learners are undertaking their qualification will support the learning experience and demonstrate the value of membership,” explains Galibardi.

“CIWM offers exclusive access to training, educational and professional development programmes, as well as industry news. We hope to see these learners use these resources, develop their careers and become Technical, Chartered and Fellow members of CIWM in years to come.”



The scheme has been designed to be easy to use – learners are automatically enrolled for membership on registration at a CIWM (WAMITAB) Qualifications centre.

“Feedback from the centres has been very positive,” Galibardi says. “They were quick to agree that this free membership would support their learners not only while undertaking their qualification, but also throughout their professional careers.”

The free Learner Membership will last for two years, even if learners have qualified before that period. After two years, members will be invited to renew as a paying member, with qualified members being advised of the appropriate grade for which to apply.

We have seen the first Learner Members receive their welcome messages and member handbooks, which is the first step.

While the scheme has only recently been introduced, CIWM anticipates that this new project will create close to 700 new members before the end of 2023. There will be regular updates on how many learners are starting to enjoy their free benefits in the coming months through the Institution’s communication channels, Galibardi says. 

“We have seen the first Learner Members receive their welcome messages and member handbooks, which is the first step,” she adds. “From here, we recognise the importance of good communication, and we will be contacting them to understand how they are using the services, what benefits them most, and what they’d like to see in future. 

“We are keen to see how this community of members develops over time, and what we will need to do to adapt to support them – we’re up for the challenge.”

For more information on CIWM Learner Membership, email membership@CIWM.co.uk or visit www.ciwm.co.uk.

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